To Polynesian Experts

Chaumont Devin devil at
Fri Feb 5 01:36:50 UTC 1999

ursula.hanly at (Ursula Hanly) writes:

> Irwing Goldman in his book, "Ancient Polynesian Society" says:

> " In eastern Polynesia the senior sibling is tuakana constructed upon
> tua cognate with atua or deity (cf. Tregear 1891).  The reciprocal of
> tuakana is teina which Elbert (1957) has defined from the Hawaiian as
> "weak person," "trying to walk," "moving slowly."  The reciprocals thus
> oppose god-like power to human weakness" (Goldman p. 460).

> Is Goldman's interpretation of these Polynesian sibling terms
> legitimate?

> Any help gratefully appreciated.

Pure bunkum.

TUA means old or older.  TAMA and TINA are Polynesian variants of AMA and
INA, just like TUPUNA is of UPU.  There is also a word, TINA, which means
bulk or body.  Perhaps someone could ellucidate the connection, if there
is one, between that TINA and the "mother" TINA.  Or, if there is no
connection, then why not.

I like Elbert's valiant effort to explain KINA.  Of course the TINA
meaning bulk or bulky just might have something to do with all of the
following, no?

weak person (or how about fat slob?)

trying to walk (probably to fat to stand up)

moving slowly (because how can fat man fly?)

I am no Polynesian expert, but just somebody who has been around this part
of the world somewhat.

BTW, I would like to know if Polynesian KANA is related to KANE or to
MANA.  The Buru word for "male" is EMHANA, which sounds similar enough to
MANA, but I suppose if it follows the rules then it is probably from some
ancient form, MAHANA, which in turn would be from MARANA, which would seem
to be very far from Polynesian KANA or MANA.  It would be closer to Malay
BERANI, whose meaning it also encodes.  But the EMHANA - MANA - KANA
similarity may result from the merging of two ancient words into the one
modern Buru word.  In other words, MARANA and MANA into EMHANA.  I notice
that Buru native speakers often do leave out the 'h' and just say MANA.

In case you are wondering about the connection between Buru EMHANA and
Polynesian MANA, in Buru culture male things do seem to be quite sacred.
It is the smell, touch, pollution, etc., of women that will spoil your
hunt for sure, and this is why Buru men will not sleep with their wives
when engaged in such activities.

I hope this raises some interesting discussion or violent altercation.

Best regards,

More information about the An-lang mailing list